Caulfield Community Toy Library
AGM 14 March 2017
Leonie Cavagna, President
Welcome everyone to the Caulfield Community Toy Library AGM.
How we work
The Caulfield Community Toy Library is a not for profit community run group providing a toy borrowing service for children. We are self funded through volunteer service, membership fees, donations and levies. We have an elected Committee of Management that is comprised of volunteers. Our members have access to over 2,000 toys which can be borrowed for up to 3 weeks at a time.
Our Toy Library offer parents and carers the opportunity to:
Save money and reduce the cost of providing new toys
Learn about how important play is for children’s development
Expose children to a greater range of play experiences
Encourage children to learn new skills and varied play activities
Contribute to children's early development and education
After settling into our new premises, 2016 was a year of strong and steady growth for the Toy Library. We achieved a tremendous amount of progress due to good old fashioned hands on participation from both the committee and members. What we’ve achieved has been great, so here’s a summary...
At the Toy Library
Our Toy Library has been given a fresh look with new internal signage, implemented as a result of a survey with feedback from members wanting clearer signage throughout. Since implementation the signage has become a template for Toy Libraries Australia and has been seen in Toy Libraries as far as Perth & Darwin.
At the start of the year 30% of our 2,000 toy range had photographs. Through working bees and member incentives we now have 50% of our range photographed, and will continue to build on this in the coming year.
Our puzzle section has been completely re-categorised which has enabled members to easily locate more appropriate puzzles.
We’ve had challenges with the internet at the Toy Library with not enough data accessible for weekly tasks to be carried out at the TL, however with the recent grant from realestate.com we have been able to set up internal wifi at the TL which will enable Christine to perform tasks utilising the more available data at the TL. It also has enabled us to set up 3 laptops during open hours, so members can use a touch laptop to enter their roster duty.
Our membership has hit a high of 180 members, and as a result the toy library has been busy! With Saturdays as crazy as 80 members returning and borrowing toys in one session - that’s nearly half of our members all arriving at one session!
Marketing & Promotions
Throughout the past year we have promoted ourselves heavily and worked towards increasing awareness of our organisation within the local community.
We kicked off a new always on campaign incentive called ‘refer a friend’ where members each got a free month added to their membership when they referred a friend. This has been a huge success for the TL and has seen members referring multiple friends via word of mouth. With only 30% of our toy range photographed we also introduced a member incentive whereby members who photographed their borrowed toys were enabled to additional free toy each week, this has been helping gain more photographs of our toys.
We set up a new social Instagram channel, which is growing by the day with 139 followers, and is only 60 shy of our Facebook channel which is sitting at 191 likes.
We launched a new website halfway through the year, and then optimised the website later on in the year when we switched hosting providers to enable members to join the Toy library online with a new look and feel. We are now averaging 5 new online sign ups a month and on average 450 people visit our site each month. We are posting our news and events via the website which includes insightful articles on how to stop toy pieces disappearing, toy cleaning tips and recipes for DIY shaving cream for sensory play!
With a fresh new look to match our website our automated emails are now activated for due and over toys, due and expired memberships, outstanding duty levy hours and birthdays - which are now promoting party packs. We are also linking and messaging our social channels through all of our automated emails to help drive additional Facebook & Instagram likes. After sign up our new members now receive a welcome email from the Toy Library which gives them an overview of the TL such as open hours, duty tasks, committee, refer a friend campaign, etc. which is to encourage member duty and awareness of our campaigns, committee and what we offer.
We’ve been spreading the word of Toy libraries globally with presence on a radio talk back session and also have featured Toy Libraries in an article in the Australian Newspaper and Mama Magazine raising TL awareness, which we have seen other TL benefitting from with members signing up to their local toy library after reading the article.
Talks & information sessions have also been conducted at Maternal Child Health Centres with new parents groups.
Our annual Open Day was held in August and saw an all time high of 9 new members sign up on the day.
We also participated in a very wet Party in the Park this year, which despite the rain we saw a tremendous effort and attendance from both members and committee. We also managed to hold a Toy Sale at the event to move on older and unsuitable TL toys.
Fundraising & Grants
We’ve had multiple fundraising initiatives which were undertaken in the past year. Thank you to those who organised, ran and volunteered at the following events:
Cake stall at our open day
These funds were primarily used for ongoing utility bills.
Two grant applications were successful for us in the past year:
Glen Eira Council Community Grant - $4,500: Used to purchase new active & sensory toys
Realestate.com property Grant $1,500: Used to purchase desperately needed computer hardware & software
Our committee and members of 2016 have contributed many hours to the Toy Library throughout the year. Thank you to all our new and continuing members who have demonstrated their support of the Toy Library through the care of our toys, their cleanly and prompt return, and ongoing support and patience during our borrowing sessions.
A special thank you goes to all the committee members who have also donated a substantial amount of their time to achieve all that we have achieved over the past year to ensure that children have access to quality toys and that the operation of the toy library continues.
Thanks to our committee:
Lynda, who helped out with our events and social media throughout the year.
Mamta, who joined halfway through the year and has been great with helping and organising our party packs, and has been very hands on with events! She also had the great idea for the photograph a toy campaign - so thanks Mamta!
Pia also joined us halfway through the year as our Media Officer and within weeks had our Instagram channel up and running, talk back radio stations chatting about Toy Libraries, and her most recent article in The Australian and Mamma magazine has been great to spread the work in regards to Toy Libraries. Thank you also for you assistance with our grants and ongoing social media, and for stepping into these additional roles when needed.
Bob and Ted our ‘toy men’ who have again year on year been indispensable, not just repairing toys but also assisting with events, working bees and BBQs. They are both incredibly positive with with a big CAN DO attitude at all times! Bob is our longest standing committee member today and has been here for 15 years.
Lisa our PR & Publicity Co-ordinator has been great with promoting the Toy Library through newspapers and centres, and has put her hand up for so many tasks at our events and working bees.
Kat our secretary who has effortlessly managed our administration and worked well beyond her role of Secretary promoting the work of the toy library at Maternal Child Health Centre talks to new parent groups - and helping with grants, working bees, events and even photographing our toys. Not to mention checking our email with a newborn!
Glenys our treasurer who has helped us with all things finance throughout the year and has also been incredibly hands on with events for the TL. This is also the first year that we are costing lost duty labour and we have an income stream through the levy which Glenys has been managing. Thanks Glenys!
Jane & Nerida our joint vice presidents with years of Toy Library wisdom, have been great to share advice. Jane particular thanks for your help with the recent Glen Eira grant which has enabled us to purchase much needed new toys for the Toy Library.
And last but by far not least particular thanks must be given to Christine our Co-ordinator. Recently at the Party in The Park I asked our members what they loved most about the TL and they said ‘Christine!’. Thank you Christine for all of your hard work over the past year. You have been an integral part of our Toy Library through running the sessions, organising our toys, our volunteers and our roster. Your new categorisation of new toy sections has also helped educate our members in regards to understanding how toys can help their children learn - myself included! You remain cool, calm and collected during the busiest ‘disco’ nights at the toy Library and your ongoing enthusiasm and help has been a tremendous asset.
We would warmly welcome more community members to share their existing skills or learn a new set of skills to enable the continuation of the Toy Library service; whether it be embracing a role on the committee or undertaking individual tasks. This year we aim to continue to drive awareness for the Toy Library and make positive changes based on the feedback from our members to ensure that we are best meeting the community’s needs. We aim to increase our number of committee and member bases and most importantly, we will continue to strive to provide children with the opportunity to access a wide variety of toys which encourage skills at each phase of development in their early childhood through play.
President, Caulfield Community Toy Library Leonie Cavagna